BATTINGTHOUSAND.

By Todd Miller

So what does a person in the Creative Depart­ment do to relieve the mounting tension of creating a bunch of ads and going out for a three hour lunch after tearing the Matt Room apart (leaving rubber cement, rubber cement remover, empty rolls of masking tape and Styro­foam, and reams of paper and maybe an empty wine bottle or two strewn across the floor)?
Well, you go to a Golden Age of Adver­tising after-work base­ball game, that’s what. Ahhhhh, just what is needed. a relaxing game of baseball.
No, wait a second.
Take an enor­mous quan­tity of “ego” and add a sport to it and what do you get? Right.…..more of the same. Tension, jeal­ousy, and down­right hatred.
So, after a once a week diet of watching these so-called base­ball games, I decided it’s time to show my hand and play with the Hoefer, Diet­rich, Brown Adver­tising Base­ball Team.
So, there I am, sitting with the team in the bleachers waiting for them to signal me to go into right field or bat. or something.
Now, let me go back a step here. Hoefer is playing BBDO that night.
BBDO had real serious base­ball (and adver­tising) guys on their team. like Copy­writer Alex Cichy, and Art Director Bruce Camp­bell, led by their super serious advisor and Creative Director, Hal Rainey ( who never played because he might do some­thing wrong. and Hal could never admit he was wrong about anything).
The one thing Hal did approve of was winning (his ego would tolerate nothing less).
I used to say, “why doesn’t the team playing BBDO simply leave a six-pack on home plate and just go home?”.
Anyway, Hoefer was playing BBDO that night, and I was waiting for my first turn at bat. Well, I kept asking our esteemed manager about letting me play during every inning.
Finally, after constant pestering, I got a response.
“Admiral Hoefer” (the esteemed reason for the name Hoefer, Diet­rich, Brown) “wants us to win the game”.
My response was, “so why can’t I play”.
The team manager (I forget his name) responded by repeating that the “Admiral wants us to beat BBDO”.…..with the unsaid noti­fi­ca­tion that my physique and partic­i­pa­tion was not called for.
Again, I said the one word I thought might lead to some kind of enlight­en­ment. ”so”.
And then for some unknown reason, about the 8th inning of my constant pestering, I was told to get up there and bat. I was actu­ally being asked to get onto the field and hit the base­ball with the bat (even though Hoefer was behind by two runs).
I hunched my shoul­ders, grabbed the bat and swung my shoul­ders around like the T.V. “Big Leaguers” did.
But.……as I walked up to the home plate. I saw there was a serious argu­ment at first base.
That’s where I thought Kirk Hinshaw (the art directing base­ball player) would be, because he swung a solid one base hit as I was coming to the plate. Turns out the Umpire thought otherwise.
So, Kirk was displaying a serious fit of temper ( with an Art Director on Second and a Writer on Third Base, need­less to say, Kirk was not putting up with the Umpire’s Call).
I stood at home plate swinging the bat again and again until the temper tantrums were played out.
Finally, Kirk was declared “safe” and I was offi­cially declared “up at bat” with “bases loaded.
And that’s when I had my turn to face my “Major Leaguer Fantasy” square in the face. Now, here’s the truth of the moment without any flourishes.
The first pitch came in to me at a 100 mile per hour (well, that’s how it seemed). it was
prob­ably less than 40 miles an hour.
And.….….…I swung and I hit a home run with bases loaded.
Simple as that.
The next day a paper of base­ball stats hit our office desks. My batting average was listed as 1000.
That’s it.
End of story.
I never played in the Adver­tising Base­ball League again. (Not that I was ever asked).
But, should my grandkid ever want to know what kind of man I was. just tell him I was “batting a thousand”.

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AD Agency Softball
After reading the heroic story above, I sent out this ques­tion to our Geezers:

9/26/21, 6:37 PM
Just by chance— HD&B and BBD&O after-work agency ball games. Does anyone happen to have a team photo from those days? (For Geezers’ Gallery.) (A real long shot!) Happy Autumn — Ann Thompson
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On 9/26/21 11:54 PM, Richard Wilson wrote:
Hi Ann and Richard…

I have to chuckle about your request here. I never heard of an after-work base­ball team in the early 60’s, when I was working at HDB. It wouldn’t have mattered anyway, I was never inter­ested in sports. But, when I was in grammar school, we didn’t have a choice. I was always chosen last to be on any base­ball team. When I would be in out field, guess where all of the balls here hit? This would always mean home runs for the opposing team.

While I was a looser at sports, I was never­the­less the acknowl­edged best artist. When our 3rd grade class would be making draw­ings, kids would line up for me to straighten their fence posts and draw their barns using vanishing lines for perfect depth percep­tion. Nobody showed me how to do this, but I could see, and I knew.

Richard Wilson
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And then I replied:
Hi Richard,
Ann, here, I will have Richard (Moore) email you later. I relate! Before group sports were forced in school I could out-run all of the kids in our neigh­bor­hood and climb higher than any of them. But at bat in junior high school. I would back away from a perfect pitch to show it was dangerous!
In City College figure drawing class the other students would stand behind me just to watch my hands. In our art studio at 901 Broadway (SF), Rex Simmons said I should insure my hands with Lloyds of London! As for the photo, just thought someone would have carried a camera.
Ann
Note: I have this photo of the VICOM Asso­ciates team where I was working. You will see that I am not in it.

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On Sep 27, 2021, at 1:38 PM, Richard Moore wrote:

Oh Richard, it’s Richard, Your sports story is my sports story. Your art story is my story also with one excep­tion, I was never asked for assis­tance. I did the usual murals, of course, and during WWII did posters depicting the down­fall of our enemies. Richard
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Then: Richard Wilson, wrote again:
Hi you both…
What fun we three had here
with our school sports & art stories.

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I found these BBDO jerseys for sale on line.

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Another response was this from Samm Coombs:

PITCHERS DON’T PITCH.
from a book I published in the early 90s …
Today’s base­ball pitchers are, in fact, throwers – that is, deliv­ering the ball over­hand (sidearmers being the odd exception).
Pitching is a straight arm under­hand delivery, as with horse­shoes. And that is how it was from baseball’s begin­ning in 1845 through 1884.
The orig­inal New York Knicker­bocker rules of 1845 required that “The ball is pitched and not thrown at the bat.” That rule was amended by the National League in the first year of its exis­tence, in 1876, providing that, “The ball must be deliv­ered to the bat with the arm swinging nearly perpen­dic­ular at the side of the body, and the hand in passing forward must pass below the hip.” In 1878 that was rule was changed, requiring the pitcher to deliver the ball “Below the waist.” Then, in 1883 the League once more revised the rule requiring that the ball should “Be deliv­ered below the pitcher’s shoulder.”
The 1878 edict induced pitchers to wear their belts abnor­mally high to elevate the waist line to the shoulder. It was not until 1884 all bans were removed permit­ting the “pitcher” to use his own option as to the method of deliv­ering the ball. As a conse­quence, pitchers soon became throwers!
While the pitched ball was the rule, clubs only carried one pitcher on their staff, as the pitching motion did not take a toll on the arm. For-example, Albert Good­will Spalding pitched every game the Boston Red Sox played between 1871 and 1874 winning 241 out of 301 and going the distance in all!
Winning or losing in baseball’s early days often had more to do with the quality of the balls than that of the pitcher. Before the afore­men­tioned Spalding intro­duced the first stan­dard­ized League Ball (that being the initial product of the fledg­ling Spalding Sporting Goods Company), each team used hand­made balls whose hard­ness or soft­ness were calcu­lated to exploit the home team’s strengths or the visiting team’s weak­nesses, leading the CHICAGO TIMES to bemoan the vari­a­tion “between a hard, brave, manly, decent ball to play with, and a soft, flabby, cowardly sphere.”
While those balls may have been cowardly, 19th Century ball players were anything but. They fielded without gloves (albeit often catching fly balls in their caps), and during the pre-League days runners could be “burned” –i.e., purposely hit by a thrown ball for a put out.
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9/29/21, 6:24 PM
But I still needed a photo from the BBD&O team – – so I wrote again to Samm:

Hi Samm, It was nice talking with Shirley and I mentioned that I knew that when you were at BBD&O – – there were after-work ball games. Shirley thinks that you have photographs from those games. Todd Miller who was at HD&B in those days wrote of a game between the two agen­cies. Might you look for photos to send to me? I always try to add visuals. Maybe you have a story of those games, also?
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So Samm sent this Xerox of a BBD&O game photo:

Written under this photo:
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — That awesome instant when a top-riding pitcher is reduced to a whim­pering has-been … that adrenalin-charged tick of time when wood meets and masters leather and flings it screaming into obscu­rity … this magnif­i­cent moment was recorded for posterity during a recent outing of the BBDO Sweaty Sox when whip-wristed Samm Coombs (above) popped out.

Catcher was Honig-Cooper agency.

Soft­ball. Bob Bian­calana broke his hand and BBDO banished art dept. from the team.

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So I deduce, Soft­ball is “under­handed” so there­fore the ball is pitched.
Ann